NFL Combine: sleeper prospects

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If you are a fan of the Falcons, then the Dirty Birds’ 2013 season was tough to watch. No one would have predicted a twelve loss season just one year after being a proverbial eyelash away from the Super Bowl. But injuries happen; players regress with age, and long ignored team weaknesses will eventually bite back. All three of these factors converged in 2013 to give the Falcons their 4-12 record, but it could not have happened at a better time. The Falcons are armed with a top ten pick in a draft class that is stocked with talent to fill Atlanta’s most pressing needs. This year’s group of college upperclassmen is stacked with speedy pass rushers, coveted pass protectors at the offensive tackle position, and punishing interior linemen on both sides of the ball. If a tumble for the Falcons was inevitable then the timing was perfect.

For months, anyone loosely familiar with the Falcons could tell you that Jadeveon Clowney would be an immediate impact player if he is picked up by Atlanta. A more educated fan could tell you that there are several more elite level prospects that could help the Falcons from day one. Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson could be immediate upgrades on the offensive line. Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr could be versatile weapons in Mike Nolan’s defensive schemes. These college players’ talent is only matched by how much coverage they have received. However, the NFL offseason is filled with the unexpected. The NFL Combine kicks off this week and with it comes surprise risers on the draft boards of many teams. Showcasing their athletic ability at the Combine gives some fringe first-round players a chance to be selected a few teams sooner or maybe a few rounds earlier than expected.

The following is a list of prospects that have not gotten the attention of some of the upper echelon athletes. With the right combine performance they could be seriously considered for the Falcons’ first draft selection. Any one of these players listed below could use the combine to increase their draft stock and be worthy of a number 6 overall selection.

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